by Christine Keller
We received this distressing e-mail from a friend of ours this morning. The writer (mother of 9 home schooled children) forwarded the e-mail she sent to her father. She is obviously distraught. We are shocked at the abuse of police power by the Garland County Sheriff’s Office. It is unconcionable and barbaric, not to mention unconstitutional.
These are the men who kidnapped these children. Shame on them.
I did not have the strength to call after all that happened today. I still haven’t been able to fall asleep and I don’t have much hope that I will. The DHS has come and stolen our kids from us under the guise of “protecting our children.” For the first time since I gave birth to Madelyn I am away from all my bambinos. Only Hal and I are here alone in this wide house tonight.
The details are so many and I know you’ll want to know them all. I will try to give a short account in this email and then fill you in more over the phone tomorrow.
Last month the DHS sent someone out to investigate a call made on their hot line (by an anonymous caller.) The lady who called let us know that she was somewhat embarrassed at how silly the charge was against us but that it was her job to investigate it anyway. We welcomed her into our home and she immediately knew that the charges were frivolous. The charges were that our kids were always running around barefoot, “even in the snow” and that they were inadequately dressed. Also that Hal had struck Christina on the face. We showed her some of the “200 and something” pair of shoes and told her (actually the kids told her) how it was their preference to go barefoot and that it was like a tradition to briefly run out in the snow barefoot and take a picture of the footprints. We assured her that when they played in the snow they all liked to wear multiple layers of clothing and bags over their feet to keep their shoes from getting wet and that they wore plastic gloves over their winter gloves to keep them from getting wet and cold too. Everyone in the family knew Hal had never hit Christina so they all eagerly told her that wasn’t true. She wrote her report and a couple of days ago we got it in the mail and it said that the charge was not valid or false (I don’t remember the exact wording but the report was that the charge was not true.
Then today (Monday Jan, 12th) we had plans for company to eat supper with us in the evening and we got a call in the morning from the DHS saying they got another phone call and that they had to come out just to ask us some questions again. We planned it for the morning at 11:00 so it wouldn’t interfere with our evening plans. Then he called back and said he had been called into a meeting with his supervisor and that he would probably be later. Well, he never called back and never came. Then around 4:30 several people showed up at our door, all obviously here for the investigation and we welcomed them in. However they desired us to step outside in order to speak privately with Hal and I and not in front of the kids. I tried to tell them it was much warmer inside and that it was nothing for the kids to go to the back of the house for us to have privacy talking. They refused and insisted on us stepping outside.
It was freezing cold and neither Hal or I had on coats. After stepping outside they issued us a search warrant and said we could not enter our house or talk to our kids until the search and the investigation was through. You can only imagine how hard it was to play it cool and not blow up at the injustice that started to unfold. We could not go get a coat, we could not call a lawyer, we could not retrieve anything inside like a phone or a camera to record anything or call anyone. They offered to let us sit in one of the 12 vehicles that ended up being in our driveway to keep warm. I blatantly refused saying I was not going to sit somewhere I couldn’t have a view of my children and what all was going on so I sat on a chair on the porch facing our front window and driveway, freezing cold. It was almost 30 minutes later before they retrieved our coats for us to put on.
They said the charge was that we had a poisonous substance in our house and that the kids were being exposed to it and it endangered their welfare. The substance named in the report was MMS and we would have gladly given it to them without a search warrant because we knew nothing of the dangers of it from all our research. It is sold on line as a water purifier and we are “preppers” so there is nothing unusual about us having it in our house. Never has it been used it in any way to “poison our kids or even expose them in such a way as to endanger their lives. Nor did we feel we were endangering them to have it in our house. They said they still had to have all the kids checked out by a doctor and be tested for MMS exposure. Of the 12 emergency, state, county, federal, etc. vehicles, one was and ambulance and there happened to be a doctor on board that could check them out with out having to take them to the hospital.
Each of the kids had to be interviewed and our house was thoroughly searched everywhere for over 2 hours! Such invasion of privacy. Meanwhile everyone we talked to at this point tried to be nice and answer our questions as best they could. We asked who made the charge and if anyone could just make any accusation and they have to act on the call regardless of it’s validity. They said it could be a hateful neighbor, a prank caller, someone with malicious intent and they still would have to act on the call. The call was anonymous and therefore the caller was protected while all our rights were taken away.
I questioned what the possibility of our kids being taken away were if they deemed the charge true, knowing that they would find the MMS which was not hidden since we didn’t know of any danger it presented. They talked like the investigation would be drawn out over a 45 day period of time and that it would just involve the kids going to the Little Rock hospital for the test to be done (hair follicle test, blood work etc.) and that there would be interviews and visits etc. We of course expressed all our concerns as to what this would do to the kids since they’ve never been to the doctor for sickness or health issues and they’ve never been away from us in that type of setting. I insisted if we had to tolerate such an order that I or we as their parents at least be present with them while the procedures were done.
All our neighbors that passed by stopped and tried to find out what in the world was going on and they were all sent away with no explanation. Our dinner guest who when they arrived tried to approach us on the porch did not get far onto our property before she was approach forcefully with a “in your face” insistence that they leave. I yelled to her to take pictures of all the vehicles with her phone since we were not allowed to do anything to protect our own innocence at what they were doing to us.
It was about 2 hours before we were let back into our house and yet we still could not have any concerned neighbors come in and be witnesses on our side. They were back and forth all over our house, inside and outside, on the phone and talking to us. There was over 13 (I couldn’t keep track how many) different authorities here. Our phone rang like crazy and no one was allowed to answer it. Finally one neighbor was able to come in and our phone became ours again. During the times they weren’t talking to us I made calls to the guest we were expecting and then some of our neighbors called to see what was going on. I couldn’t tell them how it would end but that I’d call them back after they left and let them know what all happened. Our guest still planned to come after they left (they were just driving around waiting for them to leave and the whole time they were here (which ended up being around 5 hours) they kept saying “just a few more minutes” or “I’m just waiting for one more phone call”
There was never any hint that they would take our kids from us. They waited till 15 minutes before it was all over to come in from outside, 6 to 10 intimidating brute looking males and 1 Chief investigator female from the State Police, all lined up in our den to tell us they would be taking our kids into their custody for 72 hours. All my niceties left me. I flipped out and told them that what they were going to do to our kids was way worse than what they were accusing us of. They were totally unjust and didn’t love our kids like we do….. on and on crying at my helplessness to protect my kids from total strangers who where going to take them away from us under the guise of “protecting” them. All the little kids were upset and Hal and I and the girls were all crying and in shock.
They started packing stuff for our kids to have clothes and things while they were gone and my head was spinning in a nightmarish state. They tried to calm me down and I said I had every right to be upset with them because they were taking my babies from me. When I did calm down for the kids sake and try to comfort them they ripped them away from us saying that we had already taken too much time and that they had to go. I grabbed my camera and started following them to take pictures. The pictures did not come out very good because my mind couldn’t function on how to operate the camera in such a frenzied state. It was on glitter mode which makes all the bright lit stuff sparkle. I’m very disappointed I didn’t get any pictures of all the people and vehicles that were there while it was still day light.
I still can’t believe they are gone. I have no idea what will happen tomorrow or what comes next. The only thing we can come up with, which we can’t prove, is that Victoria and Jonathan (who they kept in the back of a SUV the entire time they were here) must have said something that gave them the grounds to act as they did. They are teenagers and are very discontent with life in general right now, as are most teenagers when they arrive at that age where the parents know nothing and the kid is always right (so to say.) I don’t blame them for being teenagers but I wouldn’t put it pass the adults that were talking to them to draw and take advantage of their frame of mind. It’s obvious they came with an intent and they just needed some grounds to get the kids in their ballpark so they can do what ever they want with them. Gloria was telling Hal that they would all be getting shots. I have no idea what all they told them or what our kids said but I know the little kids will suffer the hardest from all this. And nothing will ever be the same from this day forward. How can it be?
I love you dad. I know all this is upsetting you. I know because you’re my dad and you love me with all your heart. You can imagine my love for my kids right now and what we have to be feeling for them right now while they are in some strangers house being treated like royalty in order to calm their poor little scared and confused hearts down. They’ve never slept away from us. We recently let Victoria sleep at a friends house for the first time (New Year’s Eve) but she and Jonathan aren’t who I’m worried about. If their actions brought this about (even in a innocent way) it is so not fair for what it cost the whole family to go through. And this will be just the beginning of it I’m sure.
You are welcome to call tomorrow (today) I plan on calling you but I don’t know what will take place tomorrow, with all our concerned neighbors, DHS, court hearing (which they said they’ll try to do in next 24 hours?) so feel free to call if I haven’t called by the afternoon. (We now know [on 1-14-15] that we will not get to go to court till at least next Tuesday and because of the Hair Folical test they will have to get, the results take two to three weeks to come back so it will be at least this long before they let them go but they also say it could be 30 to 90 days. They are in DHS child shelters somewhere in Loenoke County.)
Below are the few pictures I managed to take. I won’t say the usual “hope you enjoy the pictures” bit. They are pictures of our worst nightmare come true.